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High Court Registry building escapes raging inferno

High Court Registry building escapes raging inferno

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The building housing the High Court Registry last Sunday narrowly escaped the raging flames that engulfed and destroyed several other buildings around it.

Concern about the registry and the documents lodged there was foremost on the minds of firefighters and the public when the alarm {{more}}was raised at about 5:20 p.m. that a fire had broken out in the vicinity of Halifax and Egmont Streets, where the registry is located.

Last Sunday’s fire, which gutted four buildings that were most recently occupied by the Audit and Treasury Departments, the Electoral Office and the Ministry of Telecommunications, came exactly one week after a fire broke out on Bay Street, completely gutting Coreas Mini Mart.

Fortuitously, all the government buildings affected by this Sunday’s fire were no longer being used as offices.

Registrar of the High Court Andrea Young-Lewis told SEARCHLIGHT yesterday that no damage was done to the registry building or its contents.

“There was no damage. There was no damage inside the registry.”

She, however, said that the fire had left the building without electricity.

Using two fire tenders, firefighters battled the huge inferno from several points well into the night. During this time, they occasionally had to rush to douse flare-ups in areas where the fire had earlier been quelled.

At about 9:15 p.m., approximately four hours after the start of the blaze, six female staff members of the registry department were escorted into the registry building by members of the Rapid Response Unit of the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF). The civil servants spent less than four minutes inside.

While the firefighters and police officers worked, they were provided with refreshments by approximately 35 members of the volunteer Rapid Relief Team, who had set up a relief station under the nearby Singer gallery within an hour of the alarm being raised. The volunteers served water, beverages, hot dogs and other snacks, sometimes even climbing ladders to serve the firefighters as they worked.

Yesterday morning, fire- fighters were still on the scene, dousing the buildings, from which smoke was still rising.

SEARCHLIGHT also spoke yesterday with head of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF) Superintendent Ruth Jacobs, who said she could not divulge much information on the matter, since she had not yet received a report.

She, however, disclosed that Station Sergeant Hesron Ballantyne is leading the investigation into the matter. “As soon as I get an update on the matter, we will be able to tell you something better,” Jacobs said.